Blue Zone Clues
Oct 30, 2023
I’m sitting here in a hotel in Virginia, the state for Lovers. I’m not sure how they came up with that slogan or how they measure it, but I can say in October, Virginia is a beautiful place to be. The trees look like Skittles, and the weather is perfect for enjoying yourself outside. Maybe lovers Fall in love here. Maybe it has nothing to do with relationships at all and more to do with being enraptured with beauty.
Anyway, I’m here because my son swims for George Mason University, and he’s having a home swim meet. I swim like a rock with a millstone tied around it. It’s so funny to me how my son swims like a dolphin. And, like the colors of the trees here in Virginia, it’s beautiful to see him swim so gracefully and watch him enjoy something he truly loves to do.
Speaking of the season of Fall, I go through many seasons, like we all do. I’m currently in a season of nutrition fascination. I cycle through this season every few years. I’m devouring books, research articles, vlogs, podcasts, and whatever I can. I’ve studied veganism, carnivores, omnivores, Mediterraneans, Blue Zones, fasting, eating, polyphenols, lectins, fiber, honey, brassicas, and opinions. I think it’s so neat how something so natural, like eating, can become so complicated. Sure, we live in a complicated world highly driven by dollars and marketing leverage, but man, should eating nutritious food really be so elusive to us?
Even as I write this, I am now considering the energy I’ve put into studying foods and diets and research - maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I’ve made food a religion. Considering all the opinions and lines drawn in the sand about food, maybe we all have. I don’t know, but food fascinates me. It can do so many wonderful things for our bodies. At least real food can. Fake food, Frankenstein food, or processed food can cause many harmful effects within our bodies.
If I were going to sum up everything I’ve learned about food and health, or food and quality longevity, it would be this: Eat real food. Avoid what you're allergic to and avoid or limit as much as possible processed foods.
I think that’s the answer. Feed the body what it is designed to eat - real food.
Did you know real foods that grow out of the ground seem to inhibit diseases? Did you know that processed food seems to cause them? Did you know real foods that come from animals seem to have a nourishing effect on our brains, hormones, and nerves? Did you know foods that come in boxes seem to cause inflammation, itises, obesity, and cancers?
I think intuitively, we all may know this. We just maybe trade our knowledge for our desires, or perhaps we trade it for our addictions. Yeah, that’s probably it. Processed food is addicting.
Another reason why the blue zone populations live so long is that they eat real food that is native to their areas, and they eat that food in its seasons. Sure, they “under eat” but let’s be very honest here: it is hard to overeat real food. Real food is very filling, and it is not engineered to make you hungry. Real food is satisfying. Being satisfied is also addicting. It’s funny to think about, isn’t it? Being satisfied, not wanting, could be addicting.
To be honest, when it comes to the blue zones, you can’t just look at how they eat. Another reason why the blue zone populations seem to live so long is that they have very strong social networks. They cultivate friendships and engage in them. They share their lives with others, often over meals prepared with real food. It makes you wonder how Virginia is not one of the blue zone locations, doesn’t it? I mean, a state for lovers seems like they would be perpetuating some serious longevity.
Anyway, connecting with others seems to offer longevity and quality of life benefits similar to eating natural, real foods. And, interestingly, isolating, judging, and avoiding others seems to offer stresses that affect the body, like processed foods.
Isn’t it weird how, whether we are feeding our belly with wholesome foods or our hearts with wholesome connections, the end results seem to be a healthier, happier, higher quality of life?
Isn’t it also weird how, whether we are feeding our bellies with no nutrient values or our hearts with no virtuous relationships, the end results seem to be a disease of our bodies and minds?
I guess all forms of what we feed ourselves with are important when it comes to living our best lives. Real foods, real relationships, real love - these are the things we need in our day-to-day diets. These are the things that can make our days better with each rotation of the earth, no matter how many rotations we get to have.